Community

Iowa City Public Library's Bookmobile is thriving

The Bookmobile is parked at Breckenridge Estates in Iowa City on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. The program is administrated by the Iowa City Public Library and brings its collection of books, DVDs and audio books to parks and locations around Iowa City and Coralville. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
The Bookmobile is parked at Breckenridge Estates in Iowa City on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. The program is administrated by the Iowa City Public Library and brings its collection of books, DVDs and audio books to parks and locations around Iowa City and Coralville. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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IOWA CITY — The Iowa City Public Library’s Bookmobile continues to grow in popularity.

In Fiscal Year 2019, patrons made 16,349 visits to the Bookmobile and checked out 31,436 books. In FY18, there were 15,215 visitors and 25,877 items checked out.

“I think people are discovering us,” said Kara Logsden, community and access services coordinator for the library. “People are learning the mechanics of, ‘I want to place a hold on something and pick it up at the Bookmobile.’”

The city launched the Bookmobile in April 2017. Logsden said the rolling library was added out of a desire to expand library services throughout the community. A second branch of the library was considered, but Logsden said such an effort would be expensive and the question remained of where a branch would go in Iowa City.

“The Bookmobile was a much more cost-effective way to get out into the community,” Logsden said. “The bookmobiles are having a bit of a renaissance in the world. They are the most cost-effective way to take library services out into the community.”

On Aug. 16, the Bookmobile wrapped up its summer session. Operating Monday through Friday, the Bookmobile made regularly scheduled stops at elementary schools, parks, retirement homes and other locations throughout the city.

“In the summer, we really focus on where the kids are,” Logsden said.

Logsden said a great deal of planning went into deciding where to have Bookmobile stops in the community. In addition to seeking out areas that are high-traffic and high-visibility, library staff considered other criteria, like access to transportation and languages spoken at home.

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“The beauty of the Bookmobile is if we’re at a stop and it doesn’t work, we can think about, ‘Is it the time of day we’re there? Is it some other factor or is this stop not going to work?’” Logsden said. “We have the flexibility and we can make a change.”

The Bookmobile can hold approximately 2,500 items. Much of that is a collection dedicated to the Bookmobile made up of mostly new items. There also are items that are in high demand, like the Harry Potter series, Logsden said.

The Bookmobile is on a weeklong hiatus this week. Logsden said that allows the Bookmobile to undergo a deep cleaning. The Bookmobile’s heating system also is going to be re-engineered after failing last winter, Logsden said. The break also allows library staff to review the summer session and discuss what went well, she said.

The Bookmobile will return to service on Monday and begin its fall schedule, which runs Monday through Thursday.

Monday

10:45 to 11:15 a.m. — Iowa City Rehabilitation

11:30 a.m. to noon — North Dodge Hy-Vee

1 to 1:30 p.m. — Regency Heights Apartments

1:45 to 2:15 p.m. — Legacy Independent Living

3 to 3:30 p.m. — Bohumil Shimek Elementary School

4 to 4:45 p.m. — Helen Lemme Elementary School

5 to 5:30 p.m. — Waterfront Hy-Vee

Tuesday

9:30 to 10:15 a.m. — Pheasant Ridge Neighborhood Center

10:30 to 11:30 a.m. — Oaknoll Retirement Community, George Street

11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Faith Academy

1 to 1:30 — UI College of Medicine Courtyard

2:30 to 3 p.m. — Melrose Meadows

3:30 to 4 p.m. — Hills Elementary School

Wednesday

3:15 to 4 p.m. — Irving Weber Elementary School

4:15 to 5 p.m. — Archibald Alexander Elementary School

5:30 to 6 p.m. — GreenState Credit Union (formerly UICCU), Mormon Trek Boulevard

Thursday

9:30 to 10 a.m. — Mercer Park

10:15 to 10:45 a.m. — Autumn Park Apartments

11 to 11:30 a.m. First Avenue Hy-Vee

2:30 to 3 p.m. — Grant Wood Elementary School

3:15 to 4 p.m. — Mark Twain Elementary School

4:30 to 5 p.m. — Breckenridge Estates

l Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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